A Quick Lowdown on Landed Property in Singapore
Landed property is often viewed as the crème de la crème of residential property for one to own and live in in Singapore. According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, only 5% of our population live in a landed property. Despite being one of the few countries in the world with one of the highest homeownership rates in the world, buying a landed property in Singapore is still out-of-reach for most Singaporeans.
Owning a landed property is also a sign of prestige and affluence. In fact, the buy in price for a very old and small landed property starts from $2m northwards. Whether it’s a terrace house, semi-detached house, bungalow or the super-luxe, good class bungalow (GCB) — a landed property in Singapore is not just a rarity, but it’s also super expensive (Think Crazy Rich Asians-expensive).
In the following sections below, let us take a look at the differences between the various types of landed properties in Singapore.
Who Can Buy Landed Property?
In short, the following groups are eligible to own a landed property:
- Singapore Citizen;
- Singapore company;
- Singapore limited liability partnership; or
- Singapore society.
Any other classification other than the above is considered as a foreign person.
A foreign person who wishes to purchase a landed residential property is required to seek approval under the Residential Property Act. All applications have to be submitted online here at SLA’s website.
Approvals for a foreign person over the past few years are very rare i.e. one can count using the fingers on one hand or at most both hands.
The key difference between a landed and non-landed property is the land title; for a landed property, the plot of land that the house sits on belongs to the owner.
Simply put, you own the land and can tear the house down and rebuild or redesign it to how you see fit, as long as it is in accordance with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and conforms to Building Construction Authority (BCA) guidelines.
To summarize, the owner is responsible for maintaining the property. As such, every landed property in Singapore is not managed by a Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST). This also means that you don’t have to pay monthly maintenance and parking fees, and you are not bound by the typical rules set by a condominium management unlike strata properties.
Examples of non-landed residential properties comprise:
- HDB housing
- Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats (No longer being offered brand new; Only found in resale HDB market)
- Executive condominiums (ECs)
- Private condominiums
Of those listed above, only ECs and condominiums are considered as strata housing. A quick rule of thumb as a guide, it is very easy to identify strata housing. Strata-Titled homes are generally multi-storey homes. The owners jointly own the strata space and therefore have their own rights as they share ownership of the land. Any big decisions — such as selling the condo in an en bloc sale — must be collectively agreed by the owners. However, do note that public housing (i.e. HDB properties), do not have strata titles.
However, there are also strata-titled landed homes, or commonly known as cluster housing.
Cluster houses are a type of hybrid landed property in the sense that they have strata titles but they’re on landed housing estates. It is akin to a condominium where the owners share communal facilities and pay monthly maintenance fees. But instead of high-rise buildings, they are low-rise projects comprising terrace houses, semi-d houses, bungalow homes or a mix of all three types of properties. An example of a strata landed development is Whitley Residences in District 11.
See below for the differences between landed vs non-landed vs strata landed property (cluster house).
Strata Titled (except for public housing)
MONTHLY MAINTENANCE FEES
Terrace House, Semi-D, Bungalow, Shophouse, GCBs
Cluster of Terrace houses, semi-Ds, bungalows, GCBs, or a mix of each type
Private Condo, public housing, EC
Some reasons for owning a landed property:
- Bigger Space
- Flexibility and control over the design and maintenance of your home.
- Lower density locality
- Privacy and exclusivity
Types of Landed Property in Singapore
There are a number of types of landed properties in Singapore, mainly:
According to URA, a terrace house is a row of houses with at least three houses that are joined by a common wall. There are two types of terrace houses, Type 1 and Type 2. The difference between the two is the land size.
Type 1 intermediate terrace house is the bigger among the two, with a minimum plot size of 150 sqm and a plot width of 6m. A corner Type 1 house, meanwhile, has a minimum plot size of 200 sqm and a plot width of 8m.
Type 2 terrace house has a minimum plot size of 80 sqm and a minimum plot width of 6m. A Type 2 corner terrace house has the same minimum plot size as an intermediate terrace house, but with a larger minimum plot width of 8m. Read more about the differences between the two here.
Semi-detached houses, or Semi-Ds, are a pair of adjacent houses that’s separated by a common wall and have a minimum plot of 200 sqm. Semi-detached houses can either be attached side-by-side or back-to-back.
A bungalow house is “detached” from other houses and is one of the largest types of housing you can find in Singapore. Because the walls aren’t connected to another landed property, this offers residents more privacy and exclusivity.
Bungalows can be built in any of the designated landed housing areas (more on this below), including in semi-detached housing, mixed-landed, bungalow and GCB areas.
A bungalow outside a GCB area has a minimum plot size of 400 sqm and a maximum site coverage of 50%, whereas a bungalow in a GCB area has a minimum plot size of 1,400 sq m and a maximum site coverage of 40%. You can read more on the key guidelines for a bungalow house here.
GCBs are the pinnacle of Singapore properties and are the most prestigious and exclusive type of landed housing in Singapore.
There are two things that distinguish GCBs from bungalows: size and location.
GCBs have a minimum site area of 1,400 sqm, with a maximum site coverage of 40%.
To preserve their exclusivity, prestige and character, GCBs can only be built in 39 gazetted areas in Singapore. These are usually located in prime and popular areas such as Chatsworth, Cluny Road near the Orchard Road shopping belt, Ridley Park off Tanglin Road, Leedon Park near Holland Road, and King Albert Park off Bukit Timah Road.
Good class bungalow locations are:
- District 10 -Belmont Park, Bin Tong Park, Brizay Park, Bukit Sedap, Chatsworth Park, Cluny Hill, Cluny Park, Cornwall Gardens, Dalvey Estate, Ewart Park, First/Third Avenue, Ford Avenue, Fourth/Sixth Avenue, Gallop Road/Woollerton Park, Garlick Avenue, Holland Park, Holland Rise, Leedon Park, Maryland Estate, Nassim Road, Oei Tiong Ham Park, Queen Astrid Park, Rebecca Park, Ridley Park, Ridout Park, Victoria Park, White House Park
- District 11 – Bukit Tunggal, Caldecott Hill Estate, Camden Park, Chee Hoon Avenue, Eng Neo Avenue, Raffles Park, Swiss Club Road
- District 20 – Windsor Park
- District 21 – Binjai Park, Kilburn Estate, King Albert Park
- District 23 – Chestnut Avenue
There are about 2,700 GCBs in the 39 zoned areas. Also, unlike most neighbourhoods in Singapore, these areas are surrounded by big plots of land and greenery.
In terms of their size, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) stipulates that:
- GCBs cannot be built more than two-storeys high (not inclusive of an attic and a basement)
- All GCBs must have a land area of at least 1,400 sq m (approx. 15,069 sq ft)
- Up to 40% of land is allowed for the home, while the remaining 60% is dedicated to greenery and landscaping (pools, gardens, basketball courts, etc)
Shophouses are a type of conservation building that was built between the 1840s and 1960s. They are protected by URA due to their heritage and historical value. Usually, two or three storeys high, these heritage buildings are basically terraced homes with long and narrow indoor space, and a five-foot fronting space.
In the past, the lower floor was where business activities took place, while the upper floors consisted of bedrooms for residence. In recent years, however, many shophouses have begun to double up as alternative office spaces or homes.
Shophouses in Singapore can be found in older locations such as Tanjong Pagar, Chinatown, Telok Ayer, and Amoy Street. You can find the locations of shophouses by looking at URA’s conservation area map.
As mentioned above, strata landed housing or a cluster house, is a hybrid landed property that comes with strata titles. They can be built in landed housing and GCB areas.
It is basically the marriage of the preferred characteristics of both landed and strata-titled properties together. A cluster house is designed to combine the privacy and spaciousness of landed properties, and the convenience of condo-like facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, and taken-care-of gardens. Cluster developments can be home to terraces, semi-detached housing, bungalows, a mix of these and share facilities within their developments.
Cluster houses have a maximum site coverage of 50% outside GCB areas, and 40% within GCB areas.
See here for Prevailing Planning Controls for landed Housing.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Landed properties in Singapore are zoned according to the URA’s Landed Housing Area Plan. URA says that this is to “ensure that the height of the development is sympathetic to the existing neighbourhood character”. It basically means that each zone stipulates the type of landed property as well as the maximum number of storeys allowed.
Visit Landed Housing Area Plan to check on the zoning for landed property.
For example, if a land is zoned for three storeys, you can only build up to three-storeys (not inclusive of an attic).
You can, however, make modifications to your home (i.e. enlarging the rooms). But as mentioned previously, certain works will require you to get planning permission from URA.
Yes, but subjected to the following conditions, according to URA:
From a semi-detached house to a bungalow:
- It has to have a minimum plot size of 400 sqm and plot width of 10m
- The other semi-detached unit is capable of being redeveloped into a new bungalow in the future (minimum plot size of 400 sqm and a plot width of 10m)
From a Terrace House to a Bungalow:
- The redeveloped bungalow complies with the minimum plot width of 10m and plot size of 400 sqm, and
- The adjoining terrace house qualifies to become a new corner terrace unit in future (minimum plot size of 200 sqm and plot width of 8m)
The majority of buyers would prefer to buy a newer landed property in better condition in the locations that they want first before opting to buy a very old landed property and rebuild.
This is due to the high cost of materials, labour and time for the project. It can take anywhere from between 12-18 months for a rebuild or up to 6-12 months for an extensive Additions and Alterations (A&A) project. Buyers will also need to factor in the cost of alternative housing while this is happening.
The most prestigious districts for landed homes are Districts 9, 10, 11, and 21. These locations are centralised and using found in the Core Central Region (CCR) as they are near to famous schools like Nanyang Primary, Raffles Girl Primary School, Singapore Chinese Girl School and Henry Park Primary School. Apart from those, Districts 15 and 16 in the East Coast are also popular.
Buying the perfect landed property is not easy. Often there are hidden costs such as sewer lines or soil erosion which may need careful investigation.
Contact us if you would like to discuss your requirements for a landed property.